Nature Conservation Franks: small gestures – big impact
The voluntary nature conservation franc at Bern Animal Park
Words are followed by deeds. True to its new motto “More room for diversity”, the Bern Animal Park will be even more committed to nature and species conservation in the future. From 4 April 2023, this commitment will also be possible thanks to the support of visitors: with the voluntary nature conservation franc.
According to statements by the Federal Office for the Environment, “Biodiversity in Switzerland is under pressure. Promotional measures are having an effect locally, but biodiversity remains in a poor state and continues to decline. One third of all species and half of the habitat types in Switzerland are endangered”. In the future, the Bern Animal Park wants to be actively involved in nature and species conservation. Its commitment and expert knowledge should not only benefit the animal species kept in the zoo, but also the creatures that live outside the zoo area. “It is a central concern for us that the zoo is committed to regional biodiversity,” says zoo director Friederike von Houwald.
To this end, the municipal council approved the establishment of a new, special fund: the Nature and Species Conservation Fund. This enables the Bern Animal Park to use money specifically and exclusively for nature conservation projects. Thanks to the commitment of each individual guest, in the form of voluntary nature conservation francs, the fund can be fed. “With a small gesture we can achieve a big effect together!” says Reto Nause, President of the Zoo Commission and Councillor of the City of Bern.
In order to provide effective nature conservation, it is necessary to protect the habitats of endangered animals. The Bern Animal Park will concentrate its commitment on five habitats and carry out or support various projects in these with the resources of the Nature and Species Conservation Fund. The focus will be on the Bern region and Switzerland, but there will also be a few international projects. The zoo will work together with various partners, such as KARCH, WWF Bern and WWF Solothurn, Pro Lutra, Rrreefs or Stadtgrün Bern.
However, the fund also offers scope for cooperation. Companies have the opportunity to get involved in effective nature conservation by making a financial contribution to the fund. As a pioneer, Mobiliar provides start-up financing for the nature and species conservation fund. “The idea that many participants can make a big difference with a small amount is a perfect fit for us as a cooperative,” says Belinda Walther Weger, Head of Public Affairs & Sustainability at Mobiliar.
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With the earmarked grants from the Nature and Species Conservation Fund, the zoo can specifically protect endangered animal species and their habitats.